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Japan 7

What time is it and why is someone pounding on the door? It takes me a good minute to figure out what’s going on. I foggily remember Chad leaving early and telling me to go back to sleep. It’s now 2:00pm and the maid wants to clean the room. I try to tell the maid to come back in a little while but I’m not sure if she understands. I get my answer a minute later when the front desk calls. I let them know that I’ll be out of the room in a half hour. I must have been more tired than I realized to have slept so late. Just as I’m gathering my things to leave the maid is at the door again. This time I let her in as I let myself out. 

Today I’m exploring a different mall. The Daiei mall to be exact. Like More’s City, this mall has a market and I’m inexplicitly drawn into it. There’s something about the markets here that draw me in. I can’t seem to pass one without fighting the urge to wander the aisles. This time I let the market draw me in and I mindlessly wander around, looking for nothing in particular. 

 All this time in the market has made me hungry and I head to the food court to find something for lunch.  It’s hard having food allergies in a place that relies so heavily on seafood. I don’t trust any of the restaurants so I settle on a coffee shop that serves hot dogs. Hotdogs and sausages seem to be popular here, with even McDonald’s getting in on the action. This coffee shop reminds me of home;   people reading or visiting with a friend or listening to their iPod while enjoying their coffee. Here, just like at Starbucks, a seat doesn’t stay empty long as one person gets up and another takes their place.

I continue my shopping after my snack. I spot things here or there with cherry blossoms, my new obsession. As much as I hate pink, I’m beginning to like it provided the item has a cherry blossom on it. I discover a small tea shop and pick up some mango and cherry blossom teas to drink later in my room. A few floors up I find a book store with a small selection of English books. About half the books are for learning English but I manage to find two that catch my interest. The first is about Japanese customs and etiquette and the second is a crash course on Japan-food, culture, history, government, etc. Both books are written in both English and Japanese.

I finish up at the mall and head back to the hotel, treasures in hand. It’s beginning to rain and everyone is using their umbrellas. “Whimps,” I think to myself. It’s not really raining. Halfway to the hotel I abandon my hood. The wind keeps blowing it down and I won’t melt if I get a little wet. After dropping my things in the room I head down to the bar to hang out for awhile. I’m not in a drinking mood so I stick to Coke. I’m mainly wasting time down here, not wanting to sit in that tiny room all night. I share conversation here and there with other shipyard people. 

As the night wears on the bar empties out as people call it a night. They have to work in the morning so I can’t really blame them. I’m left talking with a couple of people and one of them let’s me try her ‘Taliban taco’. It’s a pita pocket stuffed with chicken, lettuce and sauce that’s sold at a little hole in the wall owned and run by Iranians. I’m hungry and it’s really tasty so I say goodnight and head upstairs to grab my jacket.

As I head down the alley to the stand I pass one of the gentlemen who I spoke with briefly earlier. He’s in conversation with two ‘massagie girls’ and doesn’t seem to notice me as I pass. Massagie girls are working girls. They usually hang out in pairs along the streets near the hotel. They prey upon foreigners and can be relentless in their pursuit of their next ‘client’. Chad is terrified of them and will purposely walk on the opposite side of the street and avoid all eye contact with them in attempts to get them to leave him alone. If you didn’t know what the girls were there for you’d never know they were working girls. They dress in jeans and all have coats on, not the typical image of a prostitute. As a woman they don’t pay me any attention but if a guy walks by you’ll hear, “Massagie? Me give you massagie? Happy ending!”

I get to the stand and order a beef pita. I’m really hungry and it’s really good. Just what I need. I eat it as I walk back, stuffing it in my pocket as I duck into the 7-11 to grab something sweet. I settle for a cake and custard dessert and a chocolate éclair. I swear I’m going to be so fat by the time I leave here with all the delicious pastries I’ve been eating!

Chad arrives home around midnight, and I’ve only returned an hour or so before he has. He’s not surprised to find me on the computer, he thinks it’s all I do all day, but we know the real truth.

Taliban tacos are good but comments are better!



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